BRUSSELS – Newly published survey shows an overwhelming level of support for stronger animal welfare rules across European Union citizens. But its delayed publication raises serious questions.
The latest Eurobarometer survey shows that 91% of Europeans think that it is important to protect the welfare of farmed animals to ensure that they have decent living condition.
With 84% of Europeans believe that the welfare of farmed animals in their country should be better protected, 83% of respondents support limiting transport time of live animals within or from the EU and 90% consider that farming and breeding practices should meet basic ethical requirements.
After several months of waiting, and two deadlines missed to respond to the ‘Freedom of Information’ request submitted by FOUR PAWS in August, the European Commission has finally published the results of latest public opinion on animal welfare. The Eurobarometer came just in time before the Commission would miss a third deadline, after which the European Ombudsman would have had to start inquiring.
Conveniently, the survey results see the light of day only after the European Commission’s announcement for its 2024 plans showing the intention to backtrack on key revisions of the animal welfare legislation for the rest of the mandate, which were promised in May of 2020.
Joe Moran, Director of European Policy Office at FOUR PAWS, said, “The European Commission has had three years to work on the revision of the EU’s animal welfare legislation, known to be outdated and faulty, and to collect scientific opinions and evidence of public support, which has now been shown to be explicit.
“However, this week it became apparent that it will not deliver three of the four previously expected proposals namely on animals who are kept for commercial purposes, animals at the time of killing and animal welfare labelling. Instead, as confirmed through its Work Programme, only the proposal on Transport will be published in December. Where is the rest?
“These figures show that citizens across all 27 Member States are deeply concerned about the way animals are treated in the entirety of their lives. They want animals to be free of painful mutilations and caged confinement, for all animals to have lives worth living. Such clear assertion cannot be ignored. Now is the time for the European Commission to get back on track, to recommit to publishing the three remaining proposals as soon as is feasible – to let the European Parliament and Council legislate on these important subjects, as is befitting in a democracy.”
The Eurobarometer results only solidify and emphasise the absolute urgency to implement and ensure a higher level of animal welfare. This is not a new phenomenon either, for more than twenty years Europe’s citizens have consistently called for the betterment of rules for all animals.
Eurobarometer is a series of public opinion surveys conducted regularly on behalf of the European Commission and other EU institutions since 1973.
Freedom of Information request: According to Regulation 1049/2001 all EU citizens, residents, companies and associations based in the European Union have the right to ask for EU documents. It’s a right in the EU Treaties. Link to Freedom of Information request to access the Eurobarometer: Latest Eurobarometer on Animal Welfare (2023) - a Freedom of Information request to Communication - AsktheEU.org
FOUR PAWS is the global animal welfare organisation for animals under direct human influence, which reveals suffering, rescues animals in need and protects them. Founded in 1988 in Vienna by Heli Dungler, the organisation advocates for a world where humans treat animals with respect, empathy and understanding. FOUR PAWS’ sustainable campaigns and projects focus on companion animals including stray dogs and cats, farm animals and wild animals – such as bears, big cats, orangutans and elephants – kept in inappropriate conditions as well as in disaster and conflict zones. With offices in Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Germany, Kosovo, the Netherlands, Switzerland, South Africa, Thailand, Ukraine, the UK, the USA and Vietnam as well as sanctuaries for rescued animals in twelve countries, FOUR PAWS provides rapid help and long-term solutions. www.four-paws.org